Los Angeles County authorities arrested a 36-year-old Harbor/UCLA pharmacy technician who allegedly stole a large quantity of the drug Hydroxychloroquine on charges of burglary and grand theft, the Sheriff’s Department reported Wednesday afternoon.
Here’s more of the story from an LASD news release:
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, County Services Bureau, along with Los Angeles County District Attorney investigated the theft and illegal sales of prescription drugs intended to combat the COVID-19 virus.
These drugs were identified as Hydroxychloroquine, a type of medication to treat a variety of auto-immune diseases, and Azithromycin, which is a type of antibiotic.
When taken outside of the care of a medical professional can be fatal.
Based on the foreseen high demand of the above-described medication due to the COVID-19 pandemic, hospital stakeholders and hospital personnel have concentrated their inventory monitoring efforts of their supplies. They quickly noticed a discrepancy.
Throughout the investigation and based on the evidence, LASD County Services Bureau deputies from Harbor/UCLA, arrested a pharmacy technician for grand theft and burglary on Tuesday, March 31, 2020. The investigation indicated the suspect was involved in the theft of approximately $7k worth of prescription drugs.
Detectives served a search warrant at the suspect’s residence in the city of Torrance on Thursday, April 9, 2020. During the search, additional prescription drugs and one controlled substance were recovered at the location.
Due to the current COVID-19 public health emergency, and the heightened public vulnerability regarding the propensity for citizens to purchase these types of medications, LASD is urging the public not to buy from someone other than a healthcare provider or pharmacist working inside a licensed pharmacy location.
36-year-old Christopher Mencias Agustin is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail for 463(A) PC 2nd Degree Burglary during Emergency.
This health crisis has made an impact throughout our nation. LASD County Services Bureau Detectives investigated this case to its entirety, even though current detective workforces are divided between their regular duties and being reassigned to patrol due to the health emergency.